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Advice on Graphics Card Choice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 20, 2012 9:23:35 AM

Hello,

My last PC upgrade took place way back in 2006 and so, understandably, it's beginning to become very outdated and I would like to upgrade to a fairly powerful gaming. I am new to building PCs from components, so I have been doing my best to research what I need in my PC. The first game I will be looking to run is WoW, and ideally I would like to run that at or near ultra, maybe on a resolution similar to 1440x900. Is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti good enough or maybe the 560? Here is what a rough idea of what will be going into the build, any addition comments (especially on things like the capability of the PSU) would be much appreciated:

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77V-LX
Processor: Intel Core i5 3570K w/ Ivybridge
Sound: Asus Xonar 2.1 (I don't care much for ultra-high sound quality)
PSU: 500W (can't remember the make, as I own it already)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda, probably 1 or 2 terabytes.
RAM: 8GB Patriot Viper 1333MHz (I believe)

Many thanks
a c 187 U Graphics card
June 20, 2012 9:45:21 AM

you dont need the sound card..most new mb have sound cards that are as good as the old soundblaster chipsets. i would use the money from the sound card to pick up a 212 heat sink. i would look at your 500w ps and look at it 12v rails. as long as it has one large one or more then one rail that the pci 6/8 pin cables are on you should be fine. the 560 cards right now are starting to be priced out from the 570 and the 7850 cards. right now nvidia trying to clear out the 560 and 570 cards before the 660 come out. the 660 will use less power and be faster then the older 570 cards. the amd 7850 cards use less power then the nvidia 560 cards. for hd pick up a wd black drive...it still has a 5 year warranty on it,some drives now have one to three year warranty.
on the ram you want to pick up some good 1600 ram (1.5v) low heat spreaders like gskills ariers or the samsung ram. there also lp vengance ram. with adter market heat sinks if the ram heat spreaders are too tall you lose the back two ram slots. if you have a local micro center they have some mb and cpu combo deals...also there combo deals on new egg for ib chips and mb.
June 20, 2012 9:45:21 AM

I'd recommend against the GTX550 Ti as it is fairly weak. An HD 7850 will suit you much better at that resolution. The mobo is good, lose the sound card it provides no better quality over the intergrated one. If you want good sound you should spent at least $100 on a sound card and have quality speakers.
Am i correct in assuming you are reusing your PSU from 2006? I'd recommend getting a new one since over time the chance it will fail increases and you don't want to risk your parts.
I listed a build for you below without case/ODD since I assume you will reuse them. If you have the budget I advice you get as SSD, it enhances your whole computing experience. Giving us a budget will enable us to give more and better advice as well.

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($189.99 @ Microcenter)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($35.98 @ NCIX US)
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LX ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($116.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Mushkin Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($44.99 @ NCIX US)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($87.99 @ NCIX US)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card ($239.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: Antec 620W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($69.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $785.92
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
Related resources
June 20, 2012 9:51:43 AM

Thank you very much for your replies - Youngster, that price tag is pretty much ideal (I am looking at around the £600 mark, but I can stretch it the extra little bit if necessary I suppose. No the PSU is not in my current (old) PC but it is one that my dad bought a couple of years ago, but as we have just moved house I cannot lay my hands on it immediately to give full specifications, sorry. What do you mean by ODD (yeah, I'm new to building from scratch haha). My case is an old packard bell one, but I don't think it provides sufficient ventilation to my current PC setup ( which is prone to overheating)
June 20, 2012 10:00:51 AM

Aha, just found the specs:

Specs:
Wattage
Rated Wattage 530 Watts
Peak Load 580 Watts

Switch Type
Manual Rocker
Auto Standby ATX Logic

Fan
120 mm - R.P.M. 700 ~ 1800 R.P.M.
120 mm - Type Sleeve Bearing

Fan
80 mm - R.P.M. 1500 ~ 2500 R.P.M.
80 mm - Type Sleeve Bearing

Input Parameter
Voltage Range 195 - 240 V
Current 6A
Voltage Range (for US model) 100 - 120 V
Current (for US model) 10A
Frequency Range 50-60 Hz

ATX
Form Factor 2.2

Efficiency
Average 76%

Output Parameter
+5V (± 5%) 2.0A - 34A
+12V 1 (± 5%) 1.0A - 20A
+12V 2 (± 5%) 1.0A - 17A
-12V (± 10%) 0A - 0.8A
+5VSB (± 5%) 0 - 2.5A
+3.3V (± 5%) 0.5 - 30A

Output Load Regulation
+12V 1 & +12V 2 < 336 W
+3.3V & +5V < 220 W
+3.3V, +5V & +12V < 510 W

Output Voltage Protection
+3.3V < 4.5V
+5V < 6.8V
+12V < 15.6V

Power Good Signal
Rise Time < 20 ms
Signal On 100 - 500 ms
Signal Off < 1 ms
Power Hold 16 ms min

PFC
Power Factor Correction Active (N/A for US model)

Chassis
Thickness 1.0 mm

Unit Size
Dimension 150 x 140 x 86 mm
5.9" x 5.5" x 3.4"

Weight
Net Weight
2.4 Kg

Sorry if the formatting is poor
June 20, 2012 10:09:47 AM

facem3lt3r said:
Thank you very much for your replies - Youngster, that price tag is pretty much ideal (I am looking at around the £600 mark, but I can stretch it the extra little bit if necessary I suppose. No the PSU is not in my current (old) PC but it is one that my dad bought a couple of years ago, but as we have just moved house I cannot lay my hands on it immediately to give full specifications, sorry. What do you mean by ODD (yeah, I'm new to building from scratch haha). My case is an old packard bell one, but I don't think it provides sufficient ventilation to my current PC setup ( which is prone to overheating)


ODD means optical disk drive. Like DVD/bluray drive
When you are able to get your hands on the PSU, let us know what model and brand it is and it's age. Then we can provide advice on it.
If you need a new case, the Antec Three Hundred Two should be a could choice. I know I'm getting it in two weeks :) 
Could you list all the parts you are certain you don't need (exclude PSU for now, better to find out your dads one is good enough than to find out it isn't)? Then I can try to get the best build for around 600 pounds
June 20, 2012 10:11:41 AM

facem3lt3r said:
Aha, just found the specs:

Specs:
Wattage
Rated Wattage 530 Watts
Peak Load 580 Watts

Switch Type
Manual Rocker
Auto Standby ATX Logic

Fan
120 mm - R.P.M. 700 ~ 1800 R.P.M.
120 mm - Type Sleeve Bearing

Fan
80 mm - R.P.M. 1500 ~ 2500 R.P.M.
80 mm - Type Sleeve Bearing

Input Parameter
Voltage Range 195 - 240 V
Current 6A
Voltage Range (for US model) 100 - 120 V
Current (for US model) 10A
Frequency Range 50-60 Hz

ATX
Form Factor 2.2

Efficiency
Average 76%

Output Parameter
+5V (± 5%) 2.0A - 34A
+12V 1 (± 5%) 1.0A - 20A
+12V 2 (± 5%) 1.0A - 17A
-12V (± 10%) 0A - 0.8A
+5VSB (± 5%) 0 - 2.5A
+3.3V (± 5%) 0.5 - 30A

Output Load Regulation
+12V 1 & +12V 2 < 336 W
+3.3V & +5V < 220 W
+3.3V, +5V & +12V < 510 W

Output Voltage Protection
+3.3V < 4.5V
+5V < 6.8V
+12V < 15.6V

Power Good Signal
Rise Time < 20 ms
Signal On 100 - 500 ms
Signal Off < 1 ms
Power Hold 16 ms min

PFC
Power Factor Correction Active (N/A for US model)

Chassis
Thickness 1.0 mm

Unit Size
Dimension 150 x 140 x 86 mm
5.9" x 5.5" x 3.4"

Weight
Net Weight
2.4 Kg

Sorry if the formatting is poor


Ah good, do you also know the brand and model?
June 20, 2012 10:22:56 AM

For the brand and model of the PSU, the box just says the brand is "Hiper" I believe, and the model appears to be HPU-4K530-MK V1 :/  there's no other indication of any other brand etc. that I can find. I will be able to source more information on it when my dad is at home (which isn't now, sorry). As for listing unneccessary components, I will follow your advice and just go with the onboard sound card so I do not need a sound card. Other than that, it's an entirely fresh build. Thank you very much
June 20, 2012 11:15:03 AM

I'm not too sure about the ODD, either
June 20, 2012 11:17:31 AM

You're welcome :) 
Hmm I never heard of Hiper, a quick search on Google didn't yield much info so I suggest you ask about it in this section of the forum. They can tell you if your PSU is any good.
Since you mentioned a budget of around 600 pounds I had to cut a little bit to make it happen. I changed the CPU to a non-overclock model with stock cooler and a cheaper mobo. Don't worry it won't hurt your performance in gaming, you just won't be able to overclock. I included a PSU just in case, if the guys at the PSU & case section deem your PSU good enough, use to money to upgrade to the Core i5 3570K or get an SSD. Or since I'm a little over budget keep it in your pocket :) 


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor (£145.56 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£71.72 @ Scan.co.uk)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£40.50 @ Amazon UK)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£64.99 @ Dabs)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card (£179.74 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: NZXT Tempest 410 ATX Mid Tower Case (£59.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Power Supply: Antec 620W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£68.05 @ CCL Computers)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.53 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £643.08
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
June 20, 2012 11:19:35 AM

facem3lt3r said:
I'm not too sure about the ODD, either

I included one, if you have one you can use (any SATA drive really) or don't need one you can save 13 pounds ;) 
June 20, 2012 11:30:19 AM

What's your monitor resolution?
June 20, 2012 11:38:09 AM

Quote:
Thomas_89

You're welcome :) 
Hmm I never heard of Hiper, a quick search on Google didn't yield much info so I suggest you ask about it in this section of the forum. They can tell you if your PSU is any good.
Since you mentioned a budget of around 600 pounds I had to cut a little bit to make it happen. I changed the CPU to a non-overclock model with stock cooler and a cheaper mobo. Don't worry it won't hurt your performance in gaming, you just won't be able to overclock. I included a PSU just in case, if the guys at the PSU & case section deem your PSU good enough, use to money to upgrade to the Core i5 3570K or get an SSD. Or since I'm a little over budget keep it in your pocket :) 


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor (£145.56 @ Ebuyer)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H ATX LGA1155 Motherboard (£71.72 @ Scan.co.uk)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£40.50 @ Amazon UK)
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive (£64.99 @ Dabs)
Video Card: MSI Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card (£179.74 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: NZXT Tempest 410 ATX Mid Tower Case (£59.99 @ Overclockers.co.uk)
Power Supply: Antec 620W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply (£68.05 @ CCL Computers)
Optical Drive: Sony AD-7280S-0B DVD/CD Writer (£12.53 @ CCL Computers)
Total: £643.08
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)


That is incredibly helpful and has cleared up alot of my questions; I now have a reasonable idea of what I'm aiming for. I will ask about the PSU in relation to this setup. One final question - what kind of gaming performance will I be getting out of this rig? If I can run games such as WoW etc on ultra or reasonably high settings with a smooth framerate at least I will be happy :)  Once again, thank you very much for all of your help.
June 20, 2012 12:04:01 PM

With this setup you'll be able to max out most games for quite a while on 1440*900 resolution. Here is an article benchmarking the HD7850. As you can see there it struggles to keep BF3 playable on Ultra at 2560*1440 which is quite a feat for a card in this price range. It can handle WoW @ ultra with ease, as can the i5 3450. Just keep in mind WoW is an mmo and in very crowded environments other factors can come into play like your connection speed etc.
June 20, 2012 12:39:06 PM

That sounds pretty much perfect. I might have to downgrade ever so slightly depending on the elasticity of my budget but now I have an excellent idea of what I should be looking at. Thank you.
June 20, 2012 12:54:30 PM

No problem, happy building and gaming!

Remember you can always get the system and use the integrated graphics of the processor for a while until you have enough money to get the HD7850 if your budget is tight. During that time you can only play WoW at lowest settings though.
June 20, 2012 1:33:54 PM

True, I never really thought of it that way. I guess if push comes to shove and I'm delayed a little in pushing the budget I can always just reuse my old GeForce 8500 GT
!